Pacific Gas and Electric Corp. (PG&E) disclosed Monday that the U.S. Forest Service “removed and took possession” of some Pacific Gas and Electric Co. equipment as the agency conducts a criminal investigation into the Mosquito Fire in California.
According to a Monday filing PG&E submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Forest Service on Saturday took possession of one transmission pole and attached equipment belonging to the PG&E subsidiary, which provides natural gas and electricity to millions of people in central and northern California. The seizure over the weekend came amid the agency conducting a criminal investigation into the cause of the Mosquito Fire, the filing said.
The Forest Service has also “indicated” to the company an “initial assessment that the fire started in the area of the Utility’s power line on National Forest System lands,” PG&E reported in the filing.
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“The USDA Forest Service is currently investigating the cause of the Mosquito Fire, and as a practice, we don’t comment further on any active investigations,” a Forest Service spokesperson told FOX Business.
The Mosquito Fire, which is currently 85% contained, started Sept. 6 near the OxBow Reservoir in northern California, according to an incident report from CalFire. It has blazed across over 76,700 acres in Placer and El Dorado Counties, destroying nearly 80 structures and damaging over a dozen others, the Forest Service said in a Saturday incident update.
Thousands of residents faced evacuation orders earlier in September, though neither county had active ones as of Saturday.
PG&E said in a statement to FOX Business that its “most important responsibility is the safety of our customers and the communities we serve.”
“The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has not made a determination on the cause of the fire,” the company statement read. “While PG&E is conducting our own investigation into the events that led to the fire, we do not have access to the physical evidence that was collected as part of the USFS investigation over the weekend. As the threat of extreme weather continues to impact our state and the West, we remain focused on preventing major wildfires and safely delivering energy to our customers and hometowns.”
In April, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. agreed to a $55 million civil settlement with six California counties over wildfires in the state, including 2019 Kincade Fire and the 2021 Dixie Fire.
CalFire has blamed PG&E equipment for igniting 31 wildfires between 2017 and 2021, FOX Business previously reported.
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